Tuesday, February 10, 2015

What Do You Do?

Author: Marci Mogg, Director of Project Management, MedNet Solutions, Inc.

This general question is often asked when you meet new people for the first time and for some the answer is self-explanatory (e.g. “I teach first grade”) but for others it is more difficult. For years I heard myself saying things like “it’s hard to explain” or I’d simply give them my title (“I’m a project manager”) and wait to see if they asked more questions. I’ve even had people in my own company ask “What is it that you do exactly?”

The answer is quite long. I asked 3 of my team members to share what they say when they are asked this question and each one replied with more than a paragraph of information.

The most general description of what project managers do is that they focus on the timeline, scope and budgets of projects. They use interpersonal and leadership skills to motivate the project team and keep the team working together effectively. They prioritize tasks to determine which items are ‘must haves’ vs ‘nice-to-haves’ to keep the timeline on track. And they constantly communicate! Communication may be the most crucial skill for project managers. They must be clear and concise and must communicate on a schedule that keeps all project stakeholders on track.

Project Managers in technology-driven industries like eClinical/EDC often serve as translators between their internal technical team and external customers. They need to be skilled at gathering requirements from their customers and documenting them in a way that both the system builder and customer can understand. Additionally, our industry requires that project managers also have the ability to successfully communicate with all different types of people, with different types of needs, with different professional languages and with a wide range of technical experience - Data Managers, IT Professionals, Administrators, Statisticians, Consultants, Doctors and Nurses.

At MedNet, our iMedNet™ Software-as-a Service (SaaS) platform allows project managers to make updates directly to the eClinical websites for the studies that they manage. They are thoroughly trained in creating case report forms (CRFs) as well as configuring important business logic (such as edit checks and workflows). This requires our project managers to not only excel in all the traditional project management tasks I’ve already mentioned, but to also possess key technical skills.

In addition to directly configuring key components of eClinical solutions, project managers working in eClinical companies like MedNet use many additional technology toolsets each day. These activities can include:
  1. 1. Composing and/or replying to multiple emails
  2. 2. Hosting audio/video conference calls to update the project team
  3. 3. Conducting online training sessions for external users
  4. 4. Creating and executing test cases
  5. 5. Creating and editing project management documents shared in cloud-based platforms
  6. 6. Tracking project status using cloud-based platforms
It’s exciting to lead a project management team at a time where both classic and technological project management knowledge are essential to delivering superior eClinical solutions for our customers. It is clear that our industry’s constantly evolving technology solutions coupled with the latest project management skill sets will continue to be a driving force to increasing the quality and efficiency of clinical research for many years to come.

MedNet Solutions is an exhibitor at this year's Partnerships in Clinical Trials.  As a reader of this blog, when you register to join us and mention code XP2000Blog, you can save $100 off the current rate!

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